Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wynwood Murals

Wynwood Murals

Wynwood is a neighborhood, just north of downtown Miami, which had a lot of warehouses
and small factories.  It had fallen on bad times and become a derelict area.  When Art Basel
appeared and drew large numbers of people to Miami, a community planner suggested ways
of bringing the area back and attractive.  Primarily this was by getting property owners to
agree to allow graffiti artists to paint huge areas of empty wall space.  They then went all over
the world and invited the most famous graffiti artists to come to Miami and create
outdoor murals.   The program has been enormously successful.  This year there were
grtaffiti artists from 26 countries and they covered 80,000 square feet of walls.
Independent local artists painted more.

This is the side wall of a small apartment building, painted by a local artist.

A beautiful butterfly decorates the wall across from St. John's Community Clinic.

A wall of the clinic offers advice.  While I was there, they were giving free vaccinations,
and the line of mothers and children stretched all along the block.

Some murals have social and political messages.

But most morals are fanciful, realistic, or abstract.

This is the wall of a restaurant along N. W. 2nd Avenue at 25th Street.

Cartoon characters from many countries appear.

Several courtyards were once surrounded by tire warehouses.  The courtyards now serve as
places for families to come and have a snack or meal and enjoy the art.

A number of murals show traditions and images from the Middle East and Far East,
where there are many famous graffiti artists.  I talked with a couple, and many are highly
skilled in technical abilities.

A playful image facing the courtyard.

I don't know whether this is a script which can be read, but it certainly is a
beautiful geometric image for the wall.

Some of the buildings are now restaurants and snack bars; this is the wall of one.

Super-realism is a highly regarded style.  This fantastic elephant-octopus was
huge and amazing.

This was the wall of an art gallery. and the artist was obviously a very skilled technician.

A fancifully painted wall in pseudo-Arabic script.

Across the street were portraits of famous graffiti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

A fantasy reclining figure was probably 50 feet long.

One artist combined painting with plastic flowers.

And of course they painted the question all visitors ask: "Is it art, or is it vandalism?"

Around the corner is the entrance to he art gallery, of which this is the 2nd Avenue wall.

Science fiction subjects are popular.

Some of tghe graffiti artists proudly sign their names; others prefer to remain anonymous.

This mural was on the wall of an art gallery which sold prints of the above can.
Commercialism and art are nearly synonymous.

This Art Nouveau style wall poster was by "Inkie," who seemed to be
quite famous and had a number of signed murals.

On weekends, it is now popular for Miamians and tourists to come to Wynwood
and walk around and enjoy the murals and have lunch at one of the many outdoor faces.
The double-decker tourist buses drive along the street and drop people off until
a later bus picks them up.  There were many tourists from France in the courtyard today.
Tour guides led groups of people through the courtyards.  It was fun.

If you are interested in the names of artists and more examples, there is a great 
deal of information on the internet under "Wynwood Walls."


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